To print this page, select "Print"
from the File menu of your browser.

The Mystic's Life Lesson #2

Stages of Mental/Emotional Awakening

Practice makes you perfect. Success on your quest is inevitable if you put aside fancies, cowardice, and laziness. However, success is impossible if, no matter how many hours and years you practice higher consciousness techniques, you do those techniques incorrectly or selfishly.

Experience of higher consciousness comes sooner than expected to those who proceed with devotion, good will, faith and a balanced mind. Doing, rather than fantasizing or talking about the techniques, is the key. As you proceed earnestly you experience several unusual, utterly delightful levels of awareness. You move through "levels of the heart" and through numerous planes of consciousness.

This life lesson begins a whole section of possibilities and delights for you — if you are a sincere seeker. (And why not be a sincere seeker? What have you to lose but myriad frustrations and sorrows?) As you give yourself a chance and practice the techniques throughout this website, you will discover the nature of awakening, "becoming aware of," your own higher consciousness. Proceeding in your awakening you will, on one unforgettable day, receive enlightenment, a permanent realization of higher consciousness which enables you to live in your true nature.

In order to awaken to your true being and live as an enlightened person, you pass through the levels of mental/emotional development. Whatever your unique path or method, you grow dynamically. Likely, you already have begun your ascent.

1 — The Dark State

Normal consciousness is often given the term "darkness." Masters of higher consciousness throughout the ages have expressed — often with great passion — that not knowing higher consciousness is a state of ignorance. If you are unable to see the brilliant light of your inner self, if you cannot contact higher wisdom or your creative intelligence, if you cannot experience spirit directly and do not know the bliss and ecstasy of your true nature, you are living in ignorance. You are ignoring personal fulfillment and any degree of lasting satisfaction.

In the dark state of ignorance, or the dark heart — as it is often called — you think the physical world is the only reality. That is, you live bound, in your experience and opinion of life, to what your senses communicate to you about the world and about yourself. Your thoughts and feelings are mainly based on sense data and your personal history of thoughts, feelings, and actions. That is, until you discover your higher faculties of awareness, until you perceive your higher nature well, you are ignoring what your life and your world can be.

Certainly the teachers of life encourage that each person be as adept as possible in using the senses, the mind, and the feeling nature. However, they urge that each person consider the other nine-tenths of the legacy bestowed on him or her at birth.

The Limited Senses

A person in the dark state sees everything incorrectly because the senses are very limited to a small and often inaccurate view of the electromagnetic spectrum. Your senses can easily be fooled. For example, new car scent — a few chemicals brewed in a spray can — may well influence your decision to purchase a car by satisfying your sense of smell that a particular unit is fresh, in great condition, and (therefore?) probably has a very good engine. In fact, many people assume a car is in good shape if the ears hear a "solid" sound when the doors are slammed shut. Manufacturers, knowing about your ears and your usual mental reliance on sense information, often spend extra money on car doors and scents to induce you to assume the rest of the car is very well built. So, because few of us can adequately evaluate an engine or transmission, we often blindly rely on our limited senses.

Even your sense of touch can be fooled. Put on a blindfold in an unfamiliar room and notice how misleading your tactile sense can be. College initiations and Halloween tricks are often based on easily deceiving the mind through the fingertips. Somehow peeled grapes do feel like eyeballs and jello can take on sinister qualities when touched in the dark. Also, even with your eyes open, you can sense two sharp points lightly touching your palm but on your shoulder blade, are you really feeling one point or two? Often you will not be able to tell; the nerves are more numerous and closer together in your palm than over your shoulder blade.

Your ears, if you are average, can only hear sound activity from a frequency of fifteen cycles per second to eighteen thousand cycles per second. So, our ears are easily deceived, too.

A brief study of sound effects likely will amaze you. The symphony is probably not playing beside the blissfully roaring surf. Rather, technicians are running water through a bucket to create a surf sound — the technique is called "white sound." Cannon sounds are made by "thumps" of various kinds. For example, dropping a barrel into an empty swimming pool can give a better cannon sound than most cannons can. Your ear is being consistently fooled every evening as you watch television and thrill to the action and realism of electronic magic.

Do you know, regarding the effort of the senses to represent reality to you, that if your nose closes and you have to rely strictly on your taste buds, you will not be able to distinguish between the juice of a potato, onion, and apple?! Try it.

And vision. Vision is our most relied upon sense, but behavioral scientists and psychologists in any university can demonstrate how easily the eye is fooled so that it misjudges what is perceived, due to mental/emotional interference as well as the inadequacies of the mortal eye.

All the masters and most of the disciplines of the path to higher consciousness urge you not to ignore your senses but rather to make the senses keener and sharper in every way so they will present their transmissions to the brain as reliably as possible — not further increasing their limitations, nor wearing out as you grow older. But you should also strive to keenly attune your mind and emotions in such a manner that your mind does not misjudge the information received through the senses nor confuse misinformation with reality.

The Ignoring Person

The person in the dark state thinks the physical world is the only reality and everything not related to matter or the senses is imaginary. Believing that the non-physical world is illusory and not worth exploration, the ignoring person does not feel any reason to turn within and consider what enables his mind to think or heart to beat. He is not intrigued by questions like:

  • What is the source of my consciousness which enables me to think in the first place?
  • Am I mainly a body, or am I essentially the dweller within my body?
  • Why are some people brighter than others? More successful? More artistic?
  • How is lasting satisfaction attained?
  • Where does love come from?
  • Where does matter come from? The world? The oceans? The sun? Stars? Galaxies? Light?
  • What is the difference between a live person and a dead one?
  • What happens at so-called death?
  • What is life?

If such questions have fascinated you over the years and if you have thought about them a lot, you are already called or prompted to move beyond ignorance and the dark state. If these questions hold no interest for you and seem to be mere dry, philosophical or theological speculations, you would very likely be wise to ponder the next four levels of awakening and spend a few relaxing minutes each week exploring your inner potential. You might find something you've been looking for your whole life long.

The Materialist

Most people in normal sense consciousness do not even suspect that there is a higher consciousness and are not interested in investigating the source of their daily awareness. Rather, they wish to focus their awareness and energy on greater accomplishments in the physical world which seems so real, stable, and, in most ways, unalterable. Exploration of higher consciousness does not appeal to people in a dark state. They feel those who seek other realms of consciousness or spend time in spiritual practices are foolish and perhaps even wasteful.

As long as a person permits himself or herself to have the attitude that the physical world is all there is, then he or she will likely maintain such an attitude for a very long time. Such a habit of thought and feeling is rarely given up by anyone unless, and until, his or her world affairs and hopes are one day smashed, falling apart in a manner most painful to the materialist. Rarely does anyone leave the dark state or even consider other possibilities unless pain or a profound sense of dissatisfaction goad the dark-hearted to look elsewhere for fulfillment — or even the minutest possibility of satisfaction.

For the most part, people will remain in the dark state as long as they feel physical existence satisfies them; or as long as they have faith that the outer world will, on some distant great day, satisfy them. Usually the death of a close relative, a painful physical injury, or the collapse of professional life have to occur before the inhabitant of the dark state rattles his or her bars and seeks to exit the prison of ignorance.

2 — The Propelled State

Mental/emotional awakening begins and the search for higher consciousness becomes established in your life when you doubt the outer world can satisfy you in any lasting way through your senses, mind, and emotions. You are about to become propelled.

Do you find yourself saying: "There's got to be something better than this! This is not what I want from life. My life has no meaning. Why do things always fall apart? Why is this happening to me?" All these are typical cries of an unsatisfied dark heart which is about to become propelled.

Whether the substantial doubt comes from the conflict between your dream states and the appearances of the outer world, or from heartbreak and near desperate yearning for happiness, you intuitively sense that the external world is not as solid and real as it used to appear. The outer world, the world of the physical body and the senses, along with your mental/emotional commentary, seems to be some sort of great dream, however vivid it may appear. And, however much the dream may have contented your senses with its presumed substantiality, suddenly or gradually you're driven to find answers that satisfy and fulfillments that last.

In the propelled state you are not merely philosophizing about the meaning and the truth of life, you are propelled, literally propelled, to search until you find what you seek. Your heart aches for understanding and meaning. Events in the outer world lose much of their significance and their power over you. You feel an ache, a burning ache, to solve the mystery of your life and to know, in a convincing way, the meaning and purpose of your existence.

Willing To Seek

Are you propelled? Do you find you are willing to seek every day, for the rest of your life if necessary, in order to get even a little bit closer to your personal realization of truth and meaning? That is, even if you were to know now that you can't possibly succeed in your quest for meaning, would you nevertheless be propelled to conduct the search simply because there is no other way to go — the outer world having lost its charm or its promise in your eyes? Then, you are propelled.

Unless you are driven to find higher consciousness and vigorously go about it with persistence and consuming interest, with deep, balanced, focused attention, you are not yet propelled.

A lot of people are dissatisfied from time to time in life. However, they are not propelled if they are merely complaining or speculating. A propelled person cannot be put off. Every day is an action and a focus toward ultimate realities. A propelled person can't conceive of giving up or being satisfied by some attraction or bauble from the outer world, even if it be a tremendous business promotion or a very cute glance and implied promise from a member of the opposite sex. Nothing will satisfy the propelled person other than the fulfillment of his or her deepest yearning. A call from deep within the soul has to be satisfied and nothing short of the realization of your true nature, your highest consciousness, will suffice.

Many seekers to your left and right will be interested in other things next year. Will you still be propelled a year from now? Will you be propelled until fulfillment? Will you live in peace and friendship with the world but, despite any daily duties — which you will do conscientiously and well — will you be true to your call? Will you seek forever if necessary, across the heavens if necessary, until you come home to your true nature and live in your true estate?

Your Success Is Inevitable

You see, if you are truly propelled and will simply abide in a dedicated way in this propelled state, you will succeed. Your success is inevitable! You will definitely achieve fulfillment and realization, without question! Your propulsion contains the power that you need to pass through all the obstacles and realize each and every state of awakening. Once you are propelled, all you have to do is honor your motive and the sense of its importance which you are feeling right now. You will have to say no to the bribes and sleeping pills of the outer world. Your dedicated propelled state is one of the greatest gifts any human being can ever receive.

While you may feel miserable until the resolution of your quest, nevertheless you should value that you are one of the few truly motivated people on the face of the earth who is honestly and sincerely responding to your as yet unglimpsed true nature.

It is often in this propelled state that you will attract and come into close companionship with a bona fide Master who will, because of his love and experience on the path, show you how to proceed toward the satisfaction of your praiseworthy quest. Often at this stage the Master initiates you and conveys an inner spiritual light to you by which you can rapidly and with a sense of blessedness move forward in your awakening.

3 — The Steady State

While in the propelled state you may think many divergent thoughts and have vastly varied emotions in your heartfelt search Still, there comes a time when the propelled state enables you to become steady. That is, your propelled state enables you to understand yourself and the various aspects of the path more clearly and well. You begin to find what techniques and specific areas of study most facilitate your growth. You also discover that you are easily able to choose the best and most effective teacher to help you fulfill your quest for higher consciousness.

So, the propelled state, which may have taken you many places, resolves to a series of selections by which you determine where and how you wish to conduct your inner quest. Perhaps you must travel many miles in your search for the fulfillment of your driving yearning. Perhaps you are blessed to come into the community of a Master and receive initiation, along with instruction about what to do next. Perhaps you don't have to leave your neighborhood.

In steadiness a deeply gratifying emotion and sense of well being fills you. The frequent sense of desperation or perplexity which often occurs in the propelled state is shed, let go of, no longer being essential to your quest. However, the power of your aspiration, developed in the propelled state, is stronger than ever. Since your propulsion is not being consumed in many divergent directions and philosophies, you now have a greater sense of what you're doing and how to do it.

The steady state is also often defined as "abiding in your initiated or baptized state." That is, having sought far, and now having found your spiritual guide, for example, all you have to do is maintain the initiated state and be true to it throughout the vicissitudes of a still quite restless mind and heart. All you have to do, at the point of being steady, is follow the spirit of your "inward turning" (repentance, or initiation). Be true to it throughout each day, despite any negative or otherwise impacting experiences from the outer world or from the chaos of a still somewhat turbulent mental/emotional nature.

Proof of Steadiness

Proof that you are in a steady state is:

  • Constancy in your spiritual practice.
  • Being punctual and courteous to others, in a natural, unfeigned manner.
  • Appreciating the instructions and techniques you've adopted, or been given by your special teacher, and practicing them daily.
  • Experiencing a sense of complete freedom from the temptation to roam to other places, either by moving your body there or by allowing your mind and heart to dwell elsewhere than your blessed state and your relationship with your Master — or your spiritual ideal, if you have not yet found your Master.

Steadiness is an important state of well being. The propulsion, having moved from a stormy seeking and wandering state, now becomes a sense of confidence and a natural faith that realization and fulfillment are near at hand for you. In the steady state you find it easy to do what you commit yourself to do. You find it only natural and vitally important that you keep your word. You are also steady enough that you can meditate and pray easily. You are often free of confusion or mental/emotional turbulence and in this calm, balanced state you are able to sense the reality of your inner self.

While you do not have a deep realization or experience of your inner nature, you do, at times, see pastel shades of light in your forehead. Now and then you have wondrous feelings of love and expansion in your chest. You are calm enough to feel greater empathy with other people and at times understand thoughts that move within their heads or the feelings that dwell unspoken in their hearts.

In the steady state you are a rare human being already. You keep your agreements and do not want to harm anyone. You are able to be true to your quest in a calm and natural way, no matter what outward temptations or menaces strive to impact or affect your life.

Maintaining an appreciative mindfulness about your blessed state, you cannot fail to go forward and experience the next awakening.

4 —The Devoted State

As steadiness matures, you sense your inner light, love, and wisdom very deeply. You become devoted to the interests, insights, and concerns of your inner self. Not only steady but loving and appreciative in the presence of your higher self and in the blessings of your Master, your heart sings with happiness. You now find it easy and natural to love. Your deeds are now more spontaneous and vigorous — actions from a love which you feel very deeply.

Now, not only propelled toward the higher consciousness within you, but also steady in your pursuit and attitudes about it, you gain intimate contact with your true nature. You live, thrilling in the experience of giving and receiving deep, transforming love.

You are not only true to your Master and ideals because you should be (as in the steady relationship) but you are true to your Master and your quest because of great joy, satisfaction, and the delight of being faithful to what you now know.

In this devoted state you are also capable of perceiving and dealing with your old selfish nature. You are capable of honestly and sincerely observing the wrongs you have done to others and to yourself. You see the manner of ignorance by which you have blocked awareness of your true self and denied the Lord of your heart. You see how desires, personal pride and fear, as well as envy, have tormented your life up to this point. In a state of love, compassion, and good will, you look at your life and those of others with new eyes — eyes which have seen the truly beautiful and eternally existing reality.

Coming Home

In the devoted state there is a transformation of what you are living for. You have sensed the reality of higher consciousness, the true self, and are coming home to it. You live for the higher consciousness and its interests rather than old, egoic, selfish preoccupations and mechanical tendencies dictated by sense experience in the outer world.

Established in a devoted state of heart, you now clearly perceive what to do and how to overcome these negative, self-centered, arrogant tendencies from your past which emanate from your deep state of ignorance and former confusion.

You have become a devotee of Love, Light, and Truth.

5 — The Clear State

Wouldn't the devoted state be the highest? What could be higher than devotion? The clear state, which is also called the clean state, naturally follows from the devoted state. Indeed, the clear state is a fruition of devotion and is one of the greatest levels of awareness that could ever happen to you.

In the devoted state you began to see the reality of your inner self. In fact, you may find what some metaphysicians and jnana (wisdom) yogis say: that in the devoted state all ideas are internal ones and that the outer world is an expression or manifestation of ideas that exist within you, within the consciousness which is your essence. However, this view is not held by a number of masters and yogis of other forms of inquiry.

The clear state, in a nutshell, is one in which you are enabled and empowered to shed, to let go of, your old nature. You drop your old thoughts, tendencies, and emotions. You're capable of dismissing them, releasing them to oblivion, no longer to hound you or bother the attitudes and perspectives of your new awakened life — of love, wisdom, and attuned will.

Delightedly abandoning your old nature with its selfishness, pettiness, and worries, you finally stand free. You stand clear, and clean. Now clear, you can easily turn toward the brilliant effulgence of your true nature and humbly accept that light in every cell of your body, in every tissue of your mind, and in every throb of your heart. Clear, free, and empty at last, you become fully infilled and indwelled by your true nature! Your inner self, freely chosen in an act of love and free will on the part of your outer self, now permanently enters your mind, heart and senses. No longer only an "inner self," it abides throughout your being.

Your Miracle

In your new state you wonder at the miracle of your transformation. You see how you moved from being an ignorant, materialistic, and selfish individual into a propelled state — usually precipitated by heartbreak and doubt. You thrill to note your propelled state was truly magnificent in its impact on your future happiness.

You see that in being true to your propelled state, you found your teacher and manner of proceeding. You found your way of study, meditation, and prayer. You became steadfast and pleasantly enjoyed well being and a one-pointedness which enabled you to progress rapidly toward your enlightenment. You observe how steadiness enabled you to become aware of your inner self, its true existence and nature.

You recall how naturally you became devoted to your inner self and lived for its inspiring purpose and ideals. You adored it and loved it.

Then you became able, in your devoted state, to distinguish between your old nature and your higher consciousness. You could distinguish the way of light from the way of darkness and selfishness, the way of faith from fear, jealousy, and anger.

Then you became clear. You grew to the point that your inner light empowered you to release, to banish, to put aside for once and all, your old nature — your old tendencies of thought, emotion, speech, and action.

How beautiful! Your doubts and frustrations have become your propulsion. Now your propulsion develops into love. And love transforms you.

Washed clean, washed clear, having abided in the blessings of your quest and the initiation of your Master (if you were so fortunate), you freely and humbly allow the light and life of your Creator to flood and permanently indwell you! You know the Source of existence and the essence of love.


Is my mind my soul's window or the mirror of the world?